Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Wuhan

The train from Chengdu to Wuhan was 18 hours. Spent most of today recovering. Only still awake because I can't seem to put down my mando after spending so much time away from it. More later, including some pictures if our internet decides to stop acting up. (Been really slow today.)


Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Chengdu

Sorry I didn't do an update from Panzhihua. Things moved pretty quickly there and we ended up not really having enough time for me to blog.

So here's how stuff went down. Earlier in the week, on our first day of hiking in the Gorge, we met this really cool Chinese dude named Ken and we mentioned that we were planning to head to Chengdu via a city called Panzhihua. When Ken heard this, he got very excited because Panzhihua is where is parents live and where he would be for New Year. He was planning on leaving the Gorge a little before us, and gave us his phone number so he could help us settle in when we got there.

Long story short, we had a wonderful dinner with Ken, his parents, and some of his friends. Ken helped us find a decent and well-priced hotel very near to most anything we could want. The next day, we got our train tickets to Chengdu. The only ones available were for 4pm on the 27th. We arrived at the Chengdu station at 6:00am on the 28th. We checked into our hostel and took a nap and now I'm writing this blog post in the lobby of the Mix hostel.

More when more happens.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Tiger Leaping Gorge

So let me give you the breakdown of what happened in the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Walter and I took a shuttle from our Hostel on Friday morning and arrived at the start of the trail around noonish. We hiked the upper trail for a good long while until we finally ended up at a hostel called the "Tea Horse Guest House." The Tea Horse was really good. The food was great and the family that runs it was super duper friendly. The view from the window of our room was also stunning.

The next morning we loaded up again and headed all the way to the end of the gorge. We ended up at Sean's Guest House, recommended to us by friends who hiked the gorge last year. We stayed with Sean for Chinese New Year, but something was kind of. . .off about the atmosphere there. Maybe it was just because it was the off season, but Sean did not seem to be the exuberant and jovial fellow described by both our friends and numerous testimonials we saw at a few hostels along the way. But we had dinner with Sean and his daughters. Conspicuously absent on this family-conscious day in Chinese culture was any sort of wife. Perhaps that had something do do with the mood. We didn't ask.

After all that, we spent the next day hiking the lower gorge and ditched some bags at Tina's, making our shuttle reservations to get back to Lijiang today. The next day we hiked back up the Tea Horse and spent the next couple of days derping around on the trail and taking pictures. Walter took nearly 300 photos, so it's going to take me some time to sort through them and get some good ones to post on here. Probably won't do it tonight. Might be a pretty long time. Whatever. Tomorrow we're off to Panzhihua to visit our friend Ken, a Chinese engineer we met in the gorge. After that, we're going to try to get to the Great Buddha in LeShan.

Until next time,


Back from the Gorge

Walter and I made it through the Gorge alive and we're back in Lijiang. We're starving, though, so we're going to go get food and then I'll post another update with a detail of our adventure in the mountains and maybe some pictures, too.

See you in a couple of hours.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some pictures

You want some pictures? Here are some pictures.

This is a bull with another bull under it and a tiger biting its tail. It is in Kunming. I don't understand it.

Some animal people outside a restaurant in Kunming.

The same.

Me standing in front of a huge gate near our hostel.

Some pictures of our room at the Hump.

Don't drink and drive.

If you're going to graffiti, don't do it on a cop's torso.

A street in Lijiang, I think.

So we met this really old doctor named Doctor He. He was pretty cool.

Get it?

New Facebook profile pic. Me in front of Mao.

Walter doing the same. Of the two of us, Walter is clearly the better photographer.
Tomorrow morning I leave for the Gorge. There might be internet at some of the hostels in the gorge, but I would not be surprised if there is not. As always, I'll get in touch again as soon as we arrive somewhere with internet, but don't be surprised if that's in like, a week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Maybe a Poor Judgement Call in Retrospect

So today Walter and I went and explored some of the Naxi villages with a guy named Richard He. This is how this went down:

Walter and I got in from the bus station and arrived at the hostel around 8:30ish. We then proceded to wait several hours in the lobby till the room we had reserved was deemed fit for us to occupy. After checking into our room and taking some much-needed showers to wash the smell of the overnight bus off, we decided to tackle the challenge of lunch.

We found this nice restaraunt but inside we were approached by this guy who claimed to be a local tour guide. He was one of the Naxi people and offered to give us a tour around to some of the smaller Naxi villages. We tried to blow him off, but long story short he was just too endearing to tell no and we argued him down to half his original price, so we were like fuck it, let's go.

Once I was inside this guy's van, it occurred to me that he could easily murder us and dump our bodies in the mountains and no one would ever fucking know. But he didn't and we actually had a pretty good time buying knicknacks and seeing some cool shit and we didn't die and now we're back at the hostel not being dead.

Unrelated to my travels: I was gonna throw a wikipedia link up there to Naxi, but Wikipedia is blacking out for the next 24 hours in protest of SOPA. If you don't know about SOPA, go to Google and check out today's doodle. Then do something to stop it from happening. Once the blackout is over I'll put up the link I was gonna.

-Peace, OUT

In Lijiang

Walter and I have arrived in Lijiang after a 12-hour overnight bus ride. We rode the sleeper bus, so we were on these little bed things. Actually, they were rather comfortable all things considered. They were maybe just a couple inches shorter than would have been ideal, but that's what comes of us tall Westerners using Chinese transit. We left Kunming around 20:00 and arrived in Lijiang just before 8:00.

I'm writing this from the Panba hostel in Old Town Lijiang. Lijiang is a UNESCO world heritage site, so there is part of the city that must be preserved for posterity and another part that is more modernized. It is cloudy today and we are so high up that the sun is having trouble making it up over the mountains to warm us. But the possibility of a beautiful day is written in the clouds and the sunrise.

More later.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Keep it Movin'

Tonight we take the overnight bus to Lijiang. We've got a reservation at a hostel there. I'll try to update when we arrive. Only one more day in sunny Kunming.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Kunming

Walter and I made it in to Kunming on Friday night. Our hostel has WiFi and is extremely cool in a number of other ways as well. There's a bar/restaurant in the lobby and it is generally a really happening place. As mentioned, there is wifi, but sometimes it can get a little spotty and it doesn't like to play nice with my VPN, hence it taking me three days to tell you we've arrived. On Tuesday night we will take a overnight bus to LiJiang and from there move up into the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Basically, we're awesome and you should be jealous. Kunming is a beautiful city. I sort of wish that I had gotten a job here instead of Wuhan. We're at a higher elevation than Denver and a lower latitude than Atlanta, so the weather is frankly just gorgeous. In fact, Kunming is known as "The City of Eternal Spring" and let me tell you, visiting here in the dead of Winter, I can easily believe it.

There should be internet access at our hostel in Lijiang, so I'll make an effort to update from there. Once we move up into the gorge though, all bets are off. Even money says there's no internet up there since none of the hostels we've seen info for in the gorge even have email addresses.

Stay sexy, you awesome readers.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Travel Plans

First semester is over, grades are in, the die is cast. Now it is time for a few weeks of rest and relaxation before we plunge back into the maelstrom of educating the Chinese.

Tomorrow I depart for Yunan province with my friend and co-worker, Walter. We're flying from Wuhan to Kunming and from there basically wandering around the province however the fuck we feel like for a couple of weeks before either flying or getting a train back.

Now not that it will make much difference given the track record of this blog, but it is highly possible that I will not have internet access for the duration of this trip. This means no blog updates. I'm currently in the middle of a somewhat long-term project over at Words of the Drewcifer. I've done 8 of the proposed 100 themes so far. It should give you something to read for 3 to 7 minutes, depending on how fast you read. I'll be taking the list of themes with me on the road and hopefully doing a little work on them here and there while I am travelling. I'll post whatever I've gotten done when I get back.

For those of you who are relatives of mine and read this blog and worry about me (which, let's be honest, is probably most of you), I will make sure to post an update when I get back so that you know I have returned to Wuhan safely and can once again be contacted through the internet.

That's all for now. I leave in the morning, so if I think of anything between now and then, I'll update this post, I guess? Barring that, see you in February.